Ok, I’ve been quiet … in fact super quiet for far too long. The reason … I’ve had LOADS to digest, process and figure out in my heart and in my mind. Until now I haven’t really known how to assimilate and verbalise my thoughts and feelings which has been a mixture of excitement, elation, sadness, apprehension, mourning, celebration, uncertainty, grief, joy …. the list goes on and on.
Embryo transfer took place on 11th June where two embryos were transferred to our SM (1 mine and 1 from our egg donor, both of which were fertilised by LH’s swimmers). First pregnancy blood test took place on 21st June – an unbelievable positive. Beta blood test to confirm first result was on 25th June – again an amazingly positive result. A momentous occasion that we’d been striving towards for so long! Hormone levels in both test results were extremely high … twins perhaps? We were holding onto that hope.
As scheduled we went for our 7 week scan on 23rd July. With our hearts beating loud and fast in our chests we peered at the screen to see one tiny 11.4mm embryo developing beautifully with a rhythmic heartbeat barely visible, but so definitely there. LH asked about our second embryo … but there was no sign of a second sac or second heartbeat. One perfect embryo, which although heartbreaking for us as we had SO desperately wanted twins, we were elated with our tiny little bean on the screen. On the way home from the appointment LH voiced what was weighing heavily on my heart … is it my little bean or the donor egg bean that has survived? In a way we’ve been desperate to get a part of our daughter Stella back and whilst I realise she will never be with us in this lifetime and can never be replaced, her sister may just bring us peace, a better understanding and overall acceptance of where we have found ourselves. What few people understand is that each and every time we’ve lost an IVF embryo it’s been incredibly hard for us and a mourning process has followed. This time however it was a devastating blow. Perhaps the knowledge that the embryo was perfect in every way, passed the dreaded PGD tests, had survived an artificial lab environment, followed by a freezing process and then thawing process, only to perish after transfer, makes it harder bear. Perhaps its the knowledge that it could very well have been the little embryo from my egg that perished, Stella’s full blooded sister, an embryo I had endured a year of 9 rounds of back to back IVFs for; months of endless drugs, poking, prodding, hope, tears, needles, bloating, night sweats, bruising, discomfort, PMS, depression, anaesthetics, procedures, disappointments and quite honestly borderline insanity, during which my relationships with friends and family suffered tremendously – some irreparably. Or perhaps it’s the knowledge that this could very well have been the one and only chance of us ever having 2 children. Whilst we still have 2 remaining frozen embryos, what are the chances of us finding another surrogate mother? … or of those remaining embryos surviving the thaw and transfer process? As has always been the case in this journey, the odds are stacked significantly against us. With these odds in mind, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that our one little developing bean is an absolute miracle and a blessing. I know that everyone says the 12 week mark is the one to aim for in terms of the safety margin, after which you can relax. With our history and the fact that I have absolutely no control over this pregnancy as SM is carrying our baby for me, I’m going to find it incredibly difficult to relax until we are at least 27 or 28 weeks into the pregnancy. A catastrophic event caused us to lose Stella just short of 20 weeks, in a manner and at a time when she had absolutely no chance of survival. Should something go wrong at 27 weeks, our daughter or son will have a very good chance of survival.
With Stella’s death, I’ve learnt that life is incredibly fragile and that we cannot assume that anything is a given, nor can we take anything for granted. Whilst I work through the melting pot of emotions which is threatening to boil over and just about consume me at any moment, I hold onto memories of our beautiful daughter Stella who we never got to know and look forward to embracing each milestone of this pregnancy.